Wednesday, February 21, 2007

When Discussing Your Cervical Mucous Quality With Total Strangers Seems Perfectly Normal ...

THAT’S when you know you’re an infertility patient, right?

Where to begin, where to begin.

I think the journey for me and Blaine into the land of TTC (trying to conceive, for you folks who aren’t into the fertility lingo) is probably pretty similar to most other couples going through fertility treatments. Of course, ours went on for six years, with four different doctors, so if I tried to share every facet, or follow a completely detailed timeline, we’d probably be here a while. And while all of you have been kind enough to indicate an interest, I seriously doubt you want to hear about every single ultrasound or temper tantrum or needle stick or negative pregnancy test. So I’ll try to keep it brief, which you know for me, means I’ll be typing until 2am.

When Blaine and I got married, we had very clear expectations for our future. The plan was for us to be married for a few years before starting our family, while he began his career in the Air Force. Get the student loans paid off before diving into the costs of diapers, and sow whatever wild oats needed sowing. We knew we didn't want kids right away, but they were without a doubt, part of the plan for the future.

Although I did go back to college during those years, it was never my goal to establish myself in any kind of professional capacity, since we knew all along that I’d stay home with our kids. Which, by the way, we would have four, spaced two years apart. First there would be a boy who we would name Matthew Dallas, then two years later a girl we would name Brayden Christine. We didn’t have names picked for the next two yet, although we tossed around some possibilities. And we didn’t care about the order, but we planned to have one more of each sex. Again, two years apart. We already had the golden retriever and SUV to complete the picture. That was our plan; it was well-thought out, and we were sticking to it. It’s so good to have plans, don’t you think? {AKA, were we naïve morons, or what?}

We had been married four years when we decided we were ready. I finished my last packet of birth control pills, winked at myself in the bathroom mirror, and sat back, ready to begin gestating as soon as we had sex. Once. Because of course, that was all it would take and I would be as knocked up as they come.

We tried for three months and nothing worked. What the heck? Blaine and I were the kind of people who got things done …. Who set a goal and accomplished it, so this kind of delay was unacceptable to us. Now, this was back before the internet became a household item, but I had gone to the library and done my research. I knew that on average, most couples conceived within six to eight months, and most doctors wouldn’t consider you “infertile” until you had been trying to conceive, unsuccessfully, for a year.

Well, excuse my French, but fuck that shit.

I wasn’t waiting a year to get pregnant! A YEAR???? Are you insane??? We had a master plan, people, and our master plan included me having our first baby at the age of 25, so if you think I was waiting a year to get pregnant, you are definitely smoking some crack.

So I did what any goal-oriented person would do. I went to the doctor and lied.

We lived on an Air Force Base in North Dakota, so I went to the Women’s Health Department of the base hospital and told them I had been trying for a year, with no luck. The first thing they wanted to do was a semen analysis on Blaine. Any doctor who knows anything, does this first. And I’m sure all of you know a man, or have heard of a man, or know someone who knows a man, who completely balked at this step. Let’s be honest, going to a medical clinic to spank the monkey isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. {Actually, I worked at a doctor’s office for several years, and for this one really creepy guy, it was. But that’s another story for another time.}

Blaine, give the guy his due, was a good sport about it. Not thrilled, by any means, but willing to do whatever he needed to get this situation taken care of. His extremely impatient wife had been waiting three months … three MONTHS, damnit … to get pregnant. If making a deposit in the Bank O’ Love would help matters, he would swallow his pride and do it.

Naturally, he was fine.

So, I was put on a front line fertility drug called Clomid. Dutifully kept a temperature chart, and each month, I took the pills, faithfully had sex on the days I was supposed to, sat around with baby-lust in my eyes, only to start my period each and every time. Again, what the heck? That really stunk. I mean, ok, fine, my pride could take the hit of this not working the first time, or even working as quickly as I wanted it to. But darn it, I was on drugs now, and something should be happening! If we didn’t hurry up, we were going to miss our goal of the first baby by age 25!

Then, we moved.

We didn’t live on base the next place we lived, so I had to find a civilian doctor, and I made sure to find one who had experience in infertility. At this point we had been trying for that cursed year, and I meant business. It was time to get pregnant, NOW. No more joking around. This doctor explained the first thing he would want to do was a semen analysis ….. “uh, yeah, I already did that… can’t I just get you a copy of the report?” was Blaine’s reply. But no, apparently all doctors like to have their own labs do the tests, just to be sure.

After Blaine was confirmed normal, once again, the attention turned to me. This time, though, the doctor wouldn’t put me on fertility drugs until he had done a few tests …. So I had the basic tests done; bloodwork to check my hormone levels, endometrial biopsy, and hysterosalpingogram -- to make sure my uterine lining was ok (it was) and that my tubes weren’t blocked (they weren’t). At that point, he agreed the Clomid should do the trick, and even bumped me up to a higher dosage. And, started monitoring me via bloodwork and ultrasound to make sure my FSH and TSH levels were OK, and that I was producing follicles. Again, with the sex on the right days. Spontaneity was sure starting to take a hit. Always, always, with the sex on the right days.

Including, I might add, Thanksgiving Day of that year, when Blaine's parents, my parents, my sister and her boyfriend, and my grandpa, of all people, were visiting for the weekend. Do you know how difficult it is to find a place to have sex, in a small duplex, with seven other adults sleeping at your house and you are the hosts? Let’s just say any starry-eyed notions I had previously, about *this time* being *the time* and *so special* had long since been in the toilet. I’m not positive, but I think that might have been the first time my exact words were “just get it over with, for God’s sake, and don’t take too long or someone might catch us”.

See? See how infertility is so good for a marriage???

So, months of testing, and six more months of an increased Clomid dose, complete with the hot flashes and mood swings that drug gives me, to no avail, and then???

We moved again. {How I do love the military life!} be continued .... because its after midnight, for goodness sake, and I'm taking six kids to lunch and a movie tomorrow and I need my sleep and my stamina!


Lisa said...

You're wonderful - that book HAS to be written. Can't wait for the next installment. Love and Prayers.

kim said...

EDGE OF THE SEAT, I TELL YA! Thanksgiving, small duplex, with seven relatives, huh? YOU TWO CRAZY KIDS!

Can't wait for the next installment. Plus, this thing with the six kids? That sounds like a future post, too!

Today I'm not going to tell you that YOU ROCK. Unless I just did? HA!

susan said...

Kristie, you are awesome, I shared that infertility ride right along with you for 6 years. And the blessing of adoption. twice. & giving birth twice. what a wonderful way to make a family. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I agree with the previous post, you must write a book. waiting for the next installment. Praying for all of you & hoping to hear good news about Blaine soon.

Tracy said...

Ah, the semen analysis...My husband was one who didn't want to do it but sucked it up for me. Not something he ever wants to have to do again.

I can't wait to hear the rest.

Thank you for sharing your story so far.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the R.I.D.E. with us. And let me tell you, I know the R.I.D.E fertility treatments can be.
Thanksgiving? We did Christmas at my Hubby's Parents...set the alarm clock on his watch and stuffed it inside his pillow to wake up before everyone else because damnit...between 12 and 36 hours I WILL ovulate and we need to be prescise here. We had some stops in parking lots on the way home to visit family (we are a military family too...remember my 1 year old daughter who looked like a Marine in your Kendrie's hair cut post)... Needless to say, after lots of memories made, and probably a few people flashed...Twin girls graced our home 3 and a half years ago.

Looking forward to the next installment as well.
I for one would buy your book.

Mesha in NC

Mary said...

This is worse than any "To Be Continued" at the end of season-ending cliffhangers!! :)

Anonymous said...

I have to say I read this at 1:30 am and this to be continued stuff definitely has me waiting like all you other readers. Once again thanks for sharing your personal journey with us.

Chris M. said...

Ahh..brings back memories of our 'sex right now' days. One of our days (and oddly enough, the day I finally conceived, after 5 freaking years on the infertility train) fell on a day that Minnesota was having the 'worst storm ever'. 9 years later and people still talk about 'the storm of 98'. So, while our house was LITERALLY blowing down around us, there was no power, God-had-opened-up-the-heavens-and-He-was-pissed kind of storm, I told Jim too damn bad - I haven't endured countless shots in my stomach etc. for nothing and YOU WILL PUT OUT FOR ME, DAMN IT!

Ahhhh...good times....

Marcia said...

I can still feel that clomid gut pain when reading your story. Oh, and that ultrasound. Such fun days.

Sam Gleason said...

Hey at least your husband went to the urologist himself!! Mine did it at home, and I had to take it to the doctors office. I must say walking into that office was a little embarrasing at first, then I had to laugh a little when I realized what they all were carrying in their little brown bags!!

The story gets better when we went through IVF. The nurse screamed across the room, what should I do with this semen sample!! I thought my husband was going to faint. Never mind that I was laying there spread eagle with every doctor and nurse in the room with me. Our IVF was done at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, which by the way is a teaching hospital. So every intern was there watching too!

Thanks for showing me how to laugh at all of the procedures that we went through. It was hard at first, conceiving, then miscarring. Not to mention the cost!!

Sam Gleason

Anonymous said...

Kristie, Haha, Been there..done that, including standing on my head after sex, putting pillows under my butt to keep the love potion from seeping out. Can't wait to hear the rest of your story.I to will be waiting in line to buy your book. :))

Kristin Hicks said...

I have endometriosis, so I feel your pain of just wishing you could get prego. Luckily, my issue was found pretty early on during a laproscopy, so my dh didn't have to go through the semen analysis. I know he was happy.

I'm loving how you tell the story though. As always.

Kristin in NC

Lisa said...

My husband also had to do the seman home. I was supposed to come and "help" him gather the sample, but I was late getting there. When I got home, he was gone and had left a note that said, "I came and went, See you tomight." I kept the note for years. Can't wait to hear the rest of your story.

Anonymous said...

I so feel your pain. Clomid sucks!!! Try explaining to your boss why your sitting there at age 26 with your hair soaked,sweat running down your face and it's December!!! I finally got drunk one night and BAM, 9 months later my first bundle was here!!! My 2 girls that I had later were accidents but absolute blessings!

Anonymous said... be continued...are you kidding me? I am sitting on the edge of my seat...come on...this is worse that waiting until next week for the next episode of 24!
Write a book...quick!

Brookville, OHio

leeann said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I have been enjoying it so far! My middle child was also a Clomid baby and I clearly remember making my husband do the deed, come hell or high water. One time, I was such a total obsessed woman, I made him have sex with me when he had a stomach virus. Poor man did the deed and then ran to the bathroom to puke. Sorry moment in our lives, but hey, we have three great kids to make up for it.
You can see them at

Leeann said...

By the way, it is so funny to read these comments about the sperm samples-
"he swallowed his pride"
"he sucked it up"

Man, I have GOT to get my head out of the gutter!

Anonymous said...

Can I ask what happened to Matthew?

Lauren said...

I've been reading your blog and Caringbridge site for something like two years now and it's taken me THIS LONG to finally sign the guestbook, but I couldn't resist. I was also supposed to be a Matthew Dallas, had I been born a son - neat coincidence! Seriously, you should absolutely write a book, I'd buy a copy and pick one up for everyone I know. You have an amazing way with words (and this is coming from a creative writing minor, English teacher, also-self-proclaimed grammar snob). Also anxiously awaiting the next installment in the saga!

Sarah said...

Kristie... I am LMAO!! You put in words what all the rest of us keep in our heads!! I had two bio kids then went through 18 months of the Clomid horror (same tests as you, but isn't it hysterosalpinogram, not "pingogram" - LOL!! - I know how you like to have everything spelled correctly!). Then, went through a divorce... and adopted on my own as a single mom in 2005. I now have three children that are just the lights of my life!!

I was on the edge of my seat too... can't wait to read the rest of the story!!!


Anonymous said...

Ok Krisite, we are all desperately waiting on the rest of the story!


Anonymous said...

As the result of pregnancy #2 ending in a genetic miscarriage I was especially anxious during my amnio (which at my 4 years request turned into a family affair) by NEEDING to come too. My mom came with us, in case they wouldn't let my son in. During the private time the doctors requested permission for just a little extra fluid for research. Of course, with the understanding that it would it no way hurt the "baby" I agreed. They also needed blood from my husband - which I also agreed to. BUT, when they approached him telling him that his wife had volunteered him...his first thought was that he would have to "donate/deposit" with my mother's knowledge in somewhat (in his mind) the same space. The relief that came over him when he found out it was just blood was truly PRICELESS.......AND that is coming from a man who continues to bitch 30 years later that he had to have 2 blood tests to get married because I waited so long to have mine that his first one expired!